Alcohol Action today (Wed, 19th Sept) have called on all Members of Dáil Éireann to stand firm against the onslaught of alcohol industry lobbying and to ensure that the health warnings proposed within the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, are enacted.
The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill proposes to introduce three specific health warnings informing the consumer of the danger of alcohol consumption, the danger of alcohol consumption when pregnant and of the direct link between alcohol and fatal cancers.
These measures are aligned with the 2010 policy direction of the WHO and its strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol, and the scrutiny by the Oireachtas.
The most recent debates at Second and Committee Stage by the Select Health Committee (June 2018) for the Bill, demonstrates that there is a wide consensus on the need for such measures and specifically to highlight the proven link between alcohol and fatal cancers.
In Ireland this year at least 900 people will be told that they have an alcohol related cancer and sadly over 500 people will lose that fight.
As Minister Simon Harris said the debate in Seanad Éireann (8 Nov, 2017):
‘There is, of course, a proven causal link between alcohol and several types of cancer, with the risk of cancer increasing steadily in line with the increased volume of alcohol consumed’
Fianna Fáil Health spokesperson Stephen Donnelly TD has said at the Select Health Committee (June 15, 2018):
‘The scientific evidence is compelling.’
During the Second Stage Dáil debate (6 Feb 2018), Sinn Féin Health spokesperson, Louise O’Reilly TD, said:
‘The relationship between alcohol and cancer – and that it is implicated in seven forms of cancer, including liver, breast, bowel, mouth, throat, oesophageal and laryngeal cancers – is a medical fact.’
while Roisin Shortall, co-leader of the Social Democrats said:
‘We all need reminding of the direct links between the use of alcohol and a number of health conditions, including some cancers.’
Commenting on recent developments, Eunan McKinney, Head of Communications and Advocacy, Alcohol Action Ireland said:
We are now close to completing a very, very long process that has brought this important legislation to this critical point. All deputies, across the House, have been put under enormous pressure by the alcohol industry’s lobbying but protecting the health of all our citizens and crucially the future wellbeing of our children, must be placed before any diminishing profits that may arise from these innovative public health measures. Public leadership of this nature will be applauded by all citizens.
The Report and Final Stage of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill is provisionally scheduled to come before Dáil Éireann next Wednesday.